The Girl and the Graveyard

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  She sighs. “Do you know what a defence mechanism is, sweetie?”
  “No Mama, what?”
  “It’s the thing that keeps your motor running when Life’s gone all Street Fighter on your engine. It’s the safety switch that stops you from totalling it altogether.”
  “What’s yours, Mama?”
  She turns the Polaroid between her fingers. Aching. Yearning “You are, sweetheart. You are.”

*  *  *

  The graves had flickering halos about them, the rain bursting, multiplying, into hundreds of smaller drops on impact. The girl advanced on the hospital bed. The pregnant woman was screaming now, her cacophony of pain barely audible above the sounds of the storm. The Girl was, for reasons unknown, terrified.

  The three of them; nurse, doctor, mother-to-be, didn’t belong. Apparitions all of them. They shimmered, and not just from the rain. Ghosts amongst the graves. How fitting, The Girl thought. Despite her fear she was drawn to the scene and so, with trepidation heavy on her heart, The Girl got to her feet and walked towards the eerie scene. It only took a glance to see what the doctor meant when he shouted above the ruckus of the rumbles from above “She’s crowning!”

  The Girl was no part of their existence. That much was obvious. To make sure the opposite was not true, she reached out, one slow finger advancing on the steel bed frame. To her disbelief there was a solidity to it, a tangible quality she had definitely not expected, but it wasn’t all there. She felt that if she pushed too hard it might vanish altogether. So she stopped pushing.

  It was a splice. Her father had asked if she had experienced one before she left. She had said no. He had only said good. So this is what he meant. Two timelines coexisting simultaneously. She did not like it, of this she was certain, but with an inexplicable curiosity she watched as the life forced its way out of its mother, literally kicking and screaming. It was a sight to behold, one she couldn’t altogether appreciate through the viscera, but she watched regardless.

  The vision, the second narrative, the whatever, it flickered. Skipped. Only a minute, maybe two, but suddenly the babe was in her arms, relatively clean, suddenly quiet and peaceful, much like the mother. The participants talked in hushed tones now that the drama was over. The Girl drew closer, her head amongst theirs, so as to hear the words they whispered.

  “-her name?” the nurse asked. She was excited, like it was her first time. Maybe it had been. Or maybe birth never gets old. Maybe she appreciated it every single time.

  “Florence,” the mother said. Something very suddenly inside The Girl ached. Or yearned. She stared at the mother with new eyes. Her face was younger than she remembered it, her hair a mess from the effort, the ragged relief in her eyes alien, the incredulity too. The beauty of her smile remained though, just the way she remembered. It gave her away.

  “Mom?” The Girl asked. Her mother’s eyes flicked upwards, locked with hers. The longest second of The Girl’s life ticked past. Then, without warning, the vision vanished into absolute nothingness, as if there had never been anything there but mud and tombs and the dead and the storm.

  The Girl crashed to her knees again, not distraught but destroyed. Annihilated from fatigue and revelations and uncontrollable emotion. Her head was a warzone were questions were the artillery, raining down, destroying the landscape. She instead chose to ignore them all. To… savour the flash? Whatever the word, she didn’t want the taste to leave her mouth. She absently fondled the companion in her pocket. The only constant in her life. The closest thing she had to a defence mechanism.

  In front of her, where the bed had once been, stood a tall grave. She rested her forehead on it. It was cool and wet. With the proximity her eyes could only make out one word. It chilled her more than the stone ever could. She pulled back to read the entire inscription, her eyes widening with every word.

Here Lies Florence Quinn.
2004 ~ 2011, Age 28 apx.
Hero to us all.
May her sacrifice never be forgotten.

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~ by Joseph Blame on June 3, 2011.

One Response to “The Girl and the Graveyard”

  1. eeesh!!!

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